Twenty-five years ago there was a great interplanetary war in the Solar System. It was a suicidal spasm in which terrible weapons were created and used; in which nine billion people were killed. The rivalries that led to the war are not gone. And a few of those deadly weapons remain - some still orbiting the sun in the debris of destroyed ships, some deliberately placed in storage. Now Cyrus Mobarak, the man who perfected the fusion engine, is determined to bring human settlement to the protected seas of Europa. Opposing him is Hilda Brandt, Europa's administrator.
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Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Charles Sheffield returns to the Solar System of his novel Cold as Ice, to spin a tale of the years immediately following the Great War, a horrifying spasm that was over in weeks, but killed half the human race.
The Solar System is finally recovering from the Great War - a war that devastated the planets and nearly wiped out the human race - and the population of the outer moons, orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, is growing. On one of those moons, Alex Ligon, scion of a great interplanetary trading family has developed a wonderfully accurate new population model, and cannot wait until the newly reconstituted "Seine", the interlinked network of computers that spans the planets and moons and asteroids, comes back on line.